Redford Theatre fetes Foxy
Pam Grier will appear at film festival in her honor
By Phreddy Wischusen
The Michigan Citizen
Not only is Pam Grier, star of “Foxy Brown” and “Coffy,” a synecdoche for blaxploitation, but many credit her as the world’s first female action film star. Grier exploded on the screen in the 70s, aiming her guns at both on-screen villains and the cameras — behind which were legions of ogling male audiences.
In the late 90s, controversial but critically-acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino wrote the movie “Jackie Brown” especially for the empowered beauty, who was nominated for and won several awards for her performance in the title role. Since, she has been working actively in television and film. But not even the silver screen’s baddest lady can resist the Motor City’s charms.
On Feb. 21 and 22, Grier will appear at the Redford Theatre for the Pam Grier Festival. The festival will show her three most famous films (all named above) and will give attendees an opportunity to have dinner with Ms. Grier. Two hundred tickets will be sold (very few, if any, remain) to a dinner at Old Redford Event and Banquet Center (the former Redford Masonic Temple across the street from the theatre). During dinner, Grier will speak about her career and answer audience questions.
The Redford Theatre is an important piece of film history. The theatre, located at 17360 Lahser Road, Detroit, opened in 1928 designed in an elaborate Japanese architectural motif. In that era, films were still silent, and the theatre was equipped with a Barton organ so an accompanist could provide a live soundtrack for the films.
Today, the Redford and the Fox are the only theatres in Detroit that still have their original organs. As the years passed, giant single-screen movie houses (the Redford seats over 1,500) lost favor to smaller multi-plexes. In 1977, The Motor City Theatre Organ Society, an which according to their website “was established to promote the preservation of theatre organs in their original settings,” bought the Redford Theatre on land contract.
Much of the theatre’s Japanese inspired art was painted over after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Over the past 40 years, volunteers have painstakingly restored the theatre to its original grandeur. The theatre is staffed entirely by volunteers and MCTOS Treasurer Liam Neery says “every penny” made from the Pam Grier Festival will go right back into the continual restoration and preservation of the theatre.
Tickets for each movie are $6; tickets for the VIP Dinner with Grier are $50 and include a signed 8×10 glossy photo of the star and free ticket for the screening of Jackie Brown with “enhanced seating.” For more information including showtimes, visit redfordtheatre.com or call 313.537.2560.